I realized I have not blogged in over a year but I was inspired by friend Jena Schwartz and how she is so honest. Today I started thinking about the recent events in the news and I could not help but think about this recent article about what happened in Turkey. I was thinking recently about how we are very uncomfortable with sadness and pain. The article did a great job of describing how people want to act like everything is just fine, how people do not want to get in touch with their feelings. Some lines from the article:
“Walking around, I heard snippets of small talk between strangers — breaking what was mostly silence — as if they were sound bites from a broken record, having almost no line of logic…..Meanwhile, the airport was washed clean of the human blood and flesh. By early morning Wednesday, the state media was heralding that the airport was operating already.”
There has been great sadness in the past few weeks, including Orlando, Turkey and now these shootings of innocent black men.
What can we do? Should we just carry on and just be productive? Should we spend time processing these events? I am also aware that I coming from privilege in that I have a moment to contemplate what has happened. Most people can not, including the notary at Chase, a 44-year-old African American woman supporting four kids (two are getting ready to go to college) When I asked if this is the job she planned to do, she responded that she wanted to be a doctor but her mother never supported her. To which I replied something to the effect of, “support means a lot.” She stared at me for a few seconds in deep thought.
This just reminded me how vital it is to share our thoughts in this unstable time, to speak about the issues, to admit when you said something wrong and to be honest with with your prejudices. We are WORKS in progress. We are always learning. Learning is part of life; it is so important to admit when you were wrong and to be willing to have the conversation. A Facebook friend of mine offered to speak to people without judgement. That is everything.
I can not help thinking, what is the purpose of feeling sad? Should I instead, be productive? There is always so much to do. There is always stuff to do. Stuff. To. Do.
And then there are the opportunities to create and to connect. I remember being in one of my psychology courses. One of the ice breakers was to share something that we are surprised by. I said I am surprised at at how other people worry like I do and how similar we all are. This reminds me that when I listen to other people’s stories out in the world that I am not alone. We are not alone. Our media focuses on us verses them. This is not an us verses them scenario, this is about people who are more similar than we are different.
It is about becoming aware of how we see the world. What are the, as David Foster Wallace says the default mode setting in which was see the world? Default mode settings, if you not familiar with the word, is the automatic way we engage in the world. Most of us are not even aware that we have them. (By the way, if you have not listened to “This is Water,” I would spend the 20 minutes or so by clicking on the link above. You will not be sorry.)
So again, the question that is begging to be asked: what can we do? Speak out. Share your thoughts. Sometimes I think who am I to think I can change the world? I think just by sharing my thoughts, speaking about the issues I am slowing changing the world in which I (we) live.
We as human beings have a capacity to feel emotions but we are often afraid to share them. I am not suggesting that we are start weeping in the street but I am suggesting that there are moments in the day where we can say to someone, perhaps even a stranger, “It’s sad, it’s tragic what is going on the world, maybe we can have a conversation about it?” I shared with a casual friend in the elevator how upset I am about what is going on in the world. It felt good not to be keep everything inside.
Let this be a moment to connect, a moment to reach out to people, not to judge but just to be present and to bear witness to being human.